Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Bread for breakfast

Yesterday I made carrot soup for lunch.  Just before we were going to eat it I took a phone call from a family friend and the bread mix which I was working on was left in the bowl.  We had our usual wholemeal bread with the soup and it was good.

Left with the mix for flat bread this morning, I threw in a few currants and fried it in the pan.  It was a treat for breakfast with a spread of butter and home made blackcurrant jam.

Take a good amount of self raising flour and add a little sugar and mixed spice.  Throw in a few currants and mix to a stiff dough with milk.  Heat some oil in a moderately warm frying pan.  Divide the dough and flatten to less than a centimetre.  Bake in the pan on both sides until firm.  Cool for a few minutes.
This is almost Canadian trail bread or a giant Welsh cake.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Warming Weather

 Today we strolled around Trentham Lake.  It was a pleasantly warm day, not as warm as yesterday though.  The warmer weather has brought out the macaques on the Trentham Estate.  This one was high in the pines, sheltering from the breeze and looking down on everyone.
 The sheep are also lambing and many of the newborn are suckling in the meadow.  There was a lone lamb last week and that is much larger than the latest additions now.
The two new sculptures of sheep by the lakeside are looking fine in the sun.  These benches form a focal point for children at the moment.  Ergh! Easter Hols.......and the crowds about town.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Cromford Canal

 Yesterday we were entertained along the Cromford Canal by a Dunnock chirping melodiously away in the trees.The weather was fine and the temperature reached 20 degrees C, which required the removal of jackets.
 We had ventured out to see the Dabchicks which return to the river every spring.  These Little Grebes have the most distinctive raucous warble when they are signalling to each other.
 We did not see as many as I expected, but the joy of the encounter was worth the trip.  If you walk along the canal from Cromford Mill to the railway junction, almost a mile, then the chances of seeing the Dabchicks is high at this time of year.  We were also informed that the Water Voles had been seen on the riverbank, but we did not see them on this occasion.  I did photograph one some years ago.
Keep an eye out in the woods by the canal.  You may see some unusual stuff in this part of Derbyshire.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Gardeners Spring has arrived

The days have been warm and dry enough to dry out the lawns,  so they have had their first cut of the year.
The scruffy and patchy growth of grass is again banished from the garden.  It is fast approaching the weekly ritual of the cut.  On a good day, I can do the job in 80 minutes.  This cut was a little longer and in two parts.  I have now 3/4 filled the garden bin with grass cuttings
When this weeks cool weather has passed, the garden table and chairs will come out onto the patio and as the weather warms, we shall start to dine "al fresco" again.
Even the grass between the raised beds is tidied and the Rhubarb is close to picking - Yum!  Things in the garden are starting to look better.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

What a day!

About a week ago, our 21 year old cat Max was found to have fleas.  We have had him all this time and he has never had fleas before.  Spraying him has not resolved the problem, so we need to treat the whole house for fleas and flea eggs, not something I am looking forward to.  Job one - off to the pet shop for some spray and a flea collar.

On my return from the pet shop, Rosie informs me that there is sewage leaking from the manhole area across our boundary with our neighbours.  OK - priorities change and I decide to rod the drains from our side.  Bang, there is an obstruction in the drains at 10 rods long.  Need to go next door.
The culprit was a short plank of wood in the drains?  With a bit of effort and a pavement cleaning tool with a spike on the end, we managed to lift the wood, free the blockage, and flush out the problem. Checked the next house along and all was well.  The jam up was exacerbated by masses of face wipes in the sewer from further back up the run.
Rods and tools washed and disinfected, now back to the cat problem.

Most of the rooms had been vacuumed and cleaned by Rosie to lift flea eggs whilst I was out in the garden.  We sprayed as many rooms as we could with a preparation that stops the development of flea eggs and kills fleas.  Then it was into the bathroom to bath Max.  This removed a lot of flea crud and cleared him of fleas.  Out with the hair dryer and dry the cat.  He helped a bit by licking his vital bits to restore the smell of cat to his fur.  Time for a cuppa.
I am not used to this level of work any more.  Still, We have a fine bottle Merlot as a thank you from our neighbours and a very clean house and cat.  Perhaps this calls for a treat of fish and chips for dinner.....

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Westport Lake

Today was a bright and sunny day it not a little cool.  Prior to a brief shopping trip we ventured to Westport Lake for an invigorating walk.  The wind was quite brisk.  There is always something of interest to see at this Staffordshire Wildlife Trust site.
 Duck on a hedge
 Pigeon having a stretch
 Mute Swan in flight
A pair of Swans.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Signs of Spring

 Frogs are spawning in the pond
 This is the first sign of spring in our garden.
 Max is now wanting to prowl around his estate as the days get warmer. At 21 he is an old cat, but he still rules the garden.
The other up and coming treat is the growth of Rhubarb - something to look forward to in the next few weeks.